Tag Archives: HaArbaa

Cuban Disappointment: Alma the Cuba

22 Jun

A while ago we decided to check the new Latino restaurant that was opened in Ha’Arbaah Street. In general, Tel Aviv lacks restaurants that bring the Latin American sense. When we found out that a new Cuban place opened up, we’ve invited Roee and Gal to join us checking the place.

Mojito

Mojito

From the outside the place looks empty but when you go inside you realize that this is where everything is actually happening. This is kind of weird because usually bars and restaurants take over some of the street in order to create more room for their tables, but in this case you had to go inside, pass an empty bar and just then get to the action, not that there is much of it. It seems as all the elderly people from the nearby Bridge club have finish playing earlier that day and decided to go for a drink in the new bar. We were the youngest people in the room.

The waitress was more promising as she was talking with Spanish accent which made us believe, for a few moments, that maybe there is something authentic about the place. In the background, salsa music was played so in order to get into the mood we’ve asked for a Mojito, Quilmes and Havana Club Rum.

Havanna Club shots

Havanna Club shots

Although the (half) promising start, the food did not stand out our expectations. In general it was too fried and not cohesive. Part of the dishes was classic pub food and the others fit a restaurant.

Take for example the “Cuban Chips Mix” – theoretically you would expect some twist on the “bar chips” with mix of interesting ingredients – in practice these were thin slices of potatoes and yam deep fried. Nothing new, so why calling it “Cuban Mix”?

Cuban Chips

Cuban Chips

Another example is “Baby Back Ribs” – In contrast to other dishes we have ordered, this was a classic restaurant dish while others were much more suitable for a bar. The dish included Ribs, Rice with black beans and spicy carrot salad. Though it wasn’t bad, it felt as the dish came from a different menu. The other dishes – Croquets and Ceviche – did not stand out and were quite boring.

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

Heading out of the place we felt unsatisfied and still in desire of some fine food and drinks, so we decided to go the neighbor bar – La Champa (which unfortunately closed its doors now).

The Check Please (4 People)

Mojito – 42NIS
3X Quilmes – 78NIS
3X Havana Club 3 Shots –57 NIS
Baby Back Ribs – 52NIS
Croquets Paratagas – 47NIS
Cuban Chips Mix -21NIS
Ceviche Malakon – 37NIS

All in all: 334NIS

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale:

2.5 Forks

2.5 Forks

Contact Details: Alma de Cuba
16 Ha’Arba’a st. Tel Aviv | 035234894
Daily 17:00-02:00
http://en.almadecuba.co.il/

Beer Heaven – Porter & Sons

12 Jun

You can’t find many American style diners in Israel. There’s probably a reason why the diner style never caught for real outside of the US and it’s probably the lack of quality, in any perspective. Even though, few diner style restaurants are trying their luck in Tel Aviv while bringing some message stating food quality doesn’t have to suck. Porter & Sons is one.

70 Different Kinds of Beers

70 Different Kinds of Beers

Few places I’ve been to around the world offer more than a few draft beers. “Porter & Sons”, located in the Harba’a Street offer no less than 70 different kinds of them. Wow. Belgian, American, Israeli, German, English and many other draft beers decorate the bar along the restaurant. There’s even a small chalkboard guiding you how to find your desired beer. After checking out the Chimay Triple and the St. Bernardus we definitely approve.

Market Salad

Market Salad

The owners of Porter & Sons didn’t stop their investment at the taps. The Menu is fully combining with the beer options and varies from Cheese or Charcuterie plates to Fish & Chips and Rib Eye Steak. Though the food isn’t the cheapest it’s quite value for money and it surly feels there’s a chef behind the bar.

House Sausages

House Sausages

Other than the Market Salad, that wasn’t special and didn’t leave a mark, we checked out the House Sausages – 3 types of homemade sages with beans. The sausages were fat, juicy and very much fulfilling along with the beans. You wouldn’t find many better sausages out there. The Spare-Ribs continued with the same line that shows the chef doesn’t have to be creative to execute well. The classic Pork Ribs were served with an (again, classic) barbeque sauce and corn on the cob.

Spare Ribs

Spare Ribs

Porter & Sons is perfect – if you know what you expect. It isn’t a romantic place neither much of a trendy one or with the most original food. As an American Style diner, having an amazing selection of Beers and a well-executed menu to match, it is one of the best.

The Check Please (2 persons)
Market Salad – 24 NIS
House Sausages – 69 NIS
Spare Ribs – 86 NIS
St. Bernardus – 30 NIS
Chimay Triple – 36 NIS

All in all – 245 NIS

Summary:

Food: Whatever suits Beef
Price: Expensive
Location: Ha’arbaa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Contact Details: Porter & Sons
Address:  14 Ha’arbaa, Tel Aviv| Phone:  03-6244355 |
Daily 12:00-Late
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=10911&txtNavID=3&txtItemID=413824

Los Campeones – La Champa Del Mar

9 Jul

Update July 2013: The place is closed.

Yes we know we’re reviewing another Tapas place. We can’t help but to surrender the love for the little Spanish dishes. Unlike many imitations, La Champa Del Mar, located at the restaurants and business area of Ha’arbaa Street, is the real Tapas (and Cava) deal. The Barcelona football club flag, hanged on the rear of the bar, keeps it no secret that the place is focusing on the fabulous Catalan kitchen, the menu written on chalkboard on top of the bar, as well as the rustic wood setting, provides a nice homely feeling.

At that night, as I (Shahar) promised Eran, one of my friends, we headed out to review the place together. Since we came a little early, the place was empty but we didn’t mind so much. The ordering in La Champa Del Mar is done from the bar itself as a true Catalan Tapas place. The sausages hanging just besides the Barca scarf seemed inviting as well.

The Menu

In order to enjoy the food just a little more, we ordered a bottle of Semi Seco Cava (note that Cava is the only alcohol available). For the Culinary part, Eran ordered Hamburguesa with Emmental cheese, which was very good according to him. A dish of Calamari a la plancha, was a little ambiguous. Although the Calamari itself were very good, the sauce of our choice – glazed orange peel – didn’t fit the Calamari at all and overshadowed the taste of the Calamari.

Semi Seco Cava

However a similar dish of Shrimps a la plancha with a different sauce – “Spicy Español” (Chipotle Barbecue) – was a whole different story. The shrimps were grilled perfectly and the sauce was amazing. Another successful Tapas dish was the Morcilla – Spanish blood sausage. The sausage, served on top of baguette slices, was spicy and full of taste.

Calamari a la Plancha

Since we were still a little hungry, we also took a plate of Roquefort Cheese and Cured Spanish, Both excellent and emphasized the fact that La Champa del Mar is using the finest ingredients (Surprisingly now I see we weren’t charged for it). A dessert of “Champa-Jores”, a variation on the Argentinean Alfajores, Ended the evening with a good sweet note. Hopefully other people will figure out the fine character of La Champa so it won’t fade out.

Shrimps a la Plancha & Hamburguesa

The check please (2 people)

Shrimps a la plancha, Spicy Español – 34 NIS
Calamari a la plancha, Glazed Naranja – 34 NIS
Hanmburguesa (w/ Emmental) – 23 NIS
Morcilla – 25 NIS
Champajores – 14 NIS
Selection of Cured Hams & Roquefort cheese (not charged)
Semi Seco Cava – 69 NIS

All in all: 199 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale: 

3.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Spanish – Catalan
Price:  Medium-Expensive
Location: Ha’arbaa

Contact details: La Champa Del Mar
Address:  16 Ha’arbaa Street,Tel Aviv | 03-5610630

Step into my office – The Officer’s Club (Moadon HaKtzinim)

26 Mar

Once again, Adi called to invite to a spontaneous dinner. At first we wanted to come back to the Coffee Bar since it has just updated its menu lately, but thinking about our blog readers we agreed to go somewhere else we haven’t covered yet. We had a desire for Asian food and the chosen place was Moadon HaKtzinim (The Officer’s Club).

The Officer’s Club’s owners are the same owners of the respectful Tel Aviv institute – Giraffe. This place is the flagship of the Giraffe brand – Asian food with a fusion twist.

We shared truffles Har Gow Dim Sum – three steamed dumpling filled with chopped mushrooms in truffles sauce. The delicate wrapping dough that lay upon a tasteful sauce made this an amazing starter.

No, thats not a jellyfish, thats a Dim Sum

From that point we split up – Adi took the VEG VEG wide noodles with mashed mushroom paste, asparagus and green beans – a classic Giraffe dish that you can never go wrong with. I (Inbar) decided to stay with the starters section of the menu and took Thai Salad & Tuna fish Ceviche. The Salad was refreshing and tasty thanks to a good combination of herbs, cherry tomatoes and tender chicken. As appose to that, the Ceviche, which included fresh Tuna fish, cucumbers and (for some mysterious reason) some kind of noodles, was disappointing.

Tuna Fish Ceviche

Ending this spontaneous dinner we took a great light dessert – Tapioca pudding that was served together with small bowls of Sorbet, fruits salad & hot cinnamon topped with banana.

VEG VEG

As I was writing the post and going through the check once more I have noticed that we were charged 1.5 NIS per person for security. Charging for security was a common manner in Israel about 10 years ago, and took place in order to help restaurants reinforce their security due to the bad security situation in Israel. I was surprised to see it in the check since I did not see any security guard & this manner has almost disappeared from the restaurants scene.

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

The Check please (2 people):
Truffles Har Gow – 47NIS
Tuna fish Ceviche – 48NIS
Thai Salad – 38NIS
VEG VEG – 49NIS
2X Binymina Gewurztraminer Wine – 52NIS
Tapioca – 39NIS
Security – 3 NIS

All in all: 276 NIS
Summary:

Food:  Asian & Fusion
Price:  Medium-expensive
Location: Ha’Arbaa

Contact details: Moadon HaKtzinim (The Officer’s Club)
Address:  21 Haarbaa St., Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6851154
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Saturday – 12:00-24:00
http://www.giraffe.co.il/about-the-restaurant/giraffe-ktzinim

The Rich and Famous – Messa

22 Mar

Lately, we had a one night chance to feel like the high society of Tel Aviv. Inbar had won a coupon to one of Tel Aviv’s most expensive restaurants – Messa. The coupon was quite generous and included two starters, two entrees and two deserts along side with two hot and two cold drinks – a full dinner (excluding the alcohol).

At the beginning we were looking for an occasion to justify this dinner. Unfortunately, our next celebration is set to April 11th, when we will mention 3 years of dating (which will be just two weeks before our marriage). Therefore we weren’t patient and decided to go without a special occasion.

This was the first time we have visited Messa and it was a good chance to take a quick peek to the place of the rich and famous in Tel Aviv. In the center of the place located two high, long tables that serves groups of people or couples that are willing to share their table with others. Alongside the tables there are open areas that contain “regular” tables. We were sat in one of these areas. We use the quotation marks from the regular since our table was a round and very large piece of marble stone. The chairs were quite big and were similar to a couch rather than a chair. The strange setting, that was define by the waitress as one of the most desirable tables in the restaurant, made us feel like strangers in their first date since we were quite far apart from each other.

Goose liver with white "Valerhona" lemon sauce

After we ordered the food, we were served a gesture from the chef – two small cups of tomato soup covered by a fried tortilla. The soup was not special at all and quite worried us regarding the upcoming courses. Luckily, the soup was not a good representation of the rest.

Jerusalem Calamari

For starters, we took the famous seared goose liver with white “Valerhona” lemon sauce served with a shot of “naughty” chocolate. This course was not less than perfect. The liver was tender and dissolved. The chocolate shot added a light sweetness and fitted the course in a perfect way. The other starter was “Jerusalem Calamari” – labaneh crème, za’atar, sesame and grilled tomatoes. This was a good course, although it was served with fried eggplant that was a little too fried.

Beef fillet in chestnut & balsamic stock

For the main course we took Beef fillet in chestnut & balsamic stock. The beef was very good and was escorted by amazing sides – smooth puree and delicious mashed chestnuts. We also took Seafood Risotto in blue crab broth. Though the dish was good, it didn’t meet our expectations that came from its name and price (151 NIS).

Seafood Risotto in blue crab broth

For a sweet ending, we took the Strawberry crumble and vanilla cream with almonds, which was a good-looking, sweet dessert. We especially liked the strawberry mousse on top of the crumble. The other dessert was quite a surprising one – Sizzling Chestnut was served in a small burning pan escorted with blue cheese and burned herbs which gave it a good and interesting smell. The combination of cheese, herbs and chestnut was truly exciting and refreshing.

Strawberry crumble and vanilla cream with almonds

For a closure of the interesting meal, we drank cappuccinos while agreeing that each phase of the dinner revealed one unusual course and one that was “just” as good as other good restaurants in town.

Sizzling Chestnut

We will be back, only when we will be a part of the rich and famous…

The check please (2 people)

2 glass of white wine – 64 NIS

Courses prices

Goose liver with white “Valerhona” lemon sauce – 84 NIS
“Jerusalem Calamari” – 58 NIS
Beef fillet in chestnut & balsamic stock – 148 NIS
Seafood Risotto in blue crab broth – 156 NIS
Strawberry crumble and vanilla cream with almonds – 48 NIS
Sizzling Chestnut – 48 NIS
Soda Water – 11 NIS
Coke – 13 NIS
Cappuccino  – 14 NIS
2 glass of white wine – 64 NIS

All in all (lucky us) 654 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Chef Restaurant
Price:  Very Expensive
Location: Ha’arbaa

Contact details: Messa
Address:  19th Ha’arbaa St. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6856859|
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Saturday 12:00-15:30; 19:00-23:30
http://www.messa.co.il/site/master.html

Spain was found in Tel Aviv – Tapeo

19 Jan

After a break of about a week, in which we ate only at home, we decided spontaneously to find a restaurant to break the drought. For a while, Shahar wanted to visit Tapeo. The problem is that when you’re spontaneous you won’t find a place at Tapeo bar. We were skeptical – but we tried. We made the call and the hostess told us she has a place on the bar for an hour and a half. We didn’t have doubts – We were on the way.

Cold Dishes Chef

Tapeo define itself as tapas and ceviche bar, and if you are one of our regular readers your already know what we think about Tapas in Israel. Tapeo is no different –this is not Spanish Tapas but it is so good we forgot the criticism. So… After that emotional introduction we can start with the interesting part – the reason we are all here – the food.

Red Drum Ceviche

We were seated in the middle of the bar with a good view on the cold dishes chef and his amazing work. We shared all the courses and ordered them together. We chose to escort this dinner with a half jar of their house white wine. The first course to arrive was the Sirloin Con Tres Pimientas – half-raw meat covered with pepper which was good meat dish. While we were eating, the chef had served us the second dish that he prepared in front of us – Cubes of Red Durm Fish in an herb chimichurri sauce served with grilled eggplant in yogurt-lemon sauce. This was an excellent combination of fresh fish with fresh sauce which made this dish delicious. The next course was Gambas a la Brasa – two prawns on the plancha seasoned with sea-salt. The prawns were in cooked in the desired manner and we enjoyed them very much.

Mejillones Al Ouzo

All these courses were good but they did not prepared us to the next one – this was Mejillones al Ouzo – small iron casserole filled with Mussels in tomato and ouzo sauce. This dish was very good and when the mussels were over we were left with a casserole filled with fantastic sauce. That was a good reason to order their breads – we got two buns & two small Pita breads – all of them hot from the oven – that were used to dip and wipe out the sauce.

We chose to finish this great dinner on the bar with a pistachio Crema Catalan that was served with strawberry and white crème – excellent and refreshing desert.

The check please (2 people)
Half jar of house wine – 70NIS
Sirloin Con Tres Pimientas – 38NIS
Cubes of Red Durm Fish – 38NIS
Gambas a la Brasa – 34NIS
Mejillones al Ouzo – 38NIS
Pan y Tres salsas – 18NIS
Crema Catalan – 28NIS

All in all: 264 NIS

Summary:

Food: Tapas
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Ha’Arbaa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale

4.5 Forks

Contact details: Tapeo

Address:  16 Ha’Arbaa Street, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6240484|
Opening Hours:  Sun – Sat 18:00– until late.
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/default.asp?txtRestID=5545

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